What is the Safest Sunscreen for Kids?

Guide rates the safety and efficacy of more than 1,000 sunscreens, moisturizers and lip balms that advertise sun protection.


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Photo by NadyaEugene/Shutterstock.com

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently announced its 2018 Guide to Sunscreens.The guide rates the safety and efficacy of more than 1,000 sunscreens, moisturizers and lip balms that advertise sun protection. EWG researchers found that 67 percent of the products don’t work well or contain ingredients that could harm health.

 “The majority of sunscreens available in the U.S. aren’t as good as most consumers think they are,” said Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst at EWG.

The report includes:

A poor-quality sunscreen may prevent sunburn, but won’t shield skin from harmful ultraviolet A rays that cause skin aging and possibly melanoma. EWG estimates that half of all sunscreens on the U.S. market would not pass the more stringent European ingredient standards, which require stronger UVA protection.

 “Americans deserve sunscreens that effectively filter harmful ultraviolet rays but don’t contain toxic chemicals,” said Carla Burns, a research analyst at EWG. “A few blistering sunburns during childhood can double a person’s risk of developing skin cancer as an adult.”

EWG’s guide helps consumers find products that get high ratings for providing broad-spectrum protection and that are made with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns.

Sunscreen is only one item in the sun safety toolbox. People should also protect their skin by wearing clothes, hats and sunglasses, and staying in the shade. But wearing sunscreen is still important.

“People are now more sun-aware and more concerned about protection,” said Burns. “A good SPF product is one you’re going to use every day and reapply at least every two hours.”

Here are some tips for choosing better sunscreens and keeping children safe in the sun:

  • Avoid products with oxybenzone. This chemical penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and block the male sex hormone androgen.
  • Stay away from s with SPF values higher than 50+. High SPF values do not provide increased UVA protection and may fool you into thinking you’re safe from sun damage.
  • Avoid sprays. These popular products don’t provide a thick and uniform coating on skin. They also pose inhalation concerns.
  • Cover up with clothing, hats and sunglasses. 
  • Avoid intense sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Source: Environmental Working Group (EWG)

 

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